A fantastic qualifying session for the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix saw Mercedes’ George Russell take his first ever pole position in Formula 1.
The British driver outpaced Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc despite not being quickest in any of the circuit’s three sectors, with Russell again living up to his moniker of ‘Mr.Saturday.’
Championship leader Max Verstappen on the other hand had a day to forget with the Dutchman struggling with an engine issue, meaning he will start today’s race from 10th on the grid. His teammate Sergio Perez will start 11th, with Red Bull having one of their worst qualifying performances in recent memory.
However, as Russell stated, there are no points given out on Saturday meaning that the race’s pit strategy will play a key role in determining the race’s final outcome.
What is Pirelli saying?
Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli has opted to bring their middle range of tyres to the Hungaroring with the C2 serving as the hard tyre, the C3 the medium compound, and the C4 compound the softest in the range.
Pirelli has also stated that the ideal strategy remains open given the new era of cars and the fact that the final practice session was run in the wet. With the chance of rain still being a small possibility, there is still a lot to play for the drivers and teams.
“In the past, the Hungaroring has been known as a place where it’s difficult to overtake, but the new package of cars and tyres this year helps drivers get much closer to each other, which is why we have seen some great races with plenty of overtaking so far this season,” Pirelli’s motorsport director Mario Isola stated.
“Hopefully that’s going to be the case at the Hungaroring as well; a tight and twisty track where the cars are often grouped together. Hungary is also known for being very hot, but it’s also rained for the last two years there: so the moral of the story is never to jump to conclusions!
“We’ve seen some surprises at the Hungaroring before, and that could be the case even more this year.”
Can Mercedes hold on?
It’s been a difficult year for the Mercedes F1 team with the Brackley-based outfit starting the season on the back foot after choosing the wrong design philosophy, which saw them struggle with porpoising issues during the first half of the season.
The team has done an excellent job to bounce back with Russell securing the team’s first pole position for 2022. His teammate Lewis Hamilton too could have been up there with the seven-time world champion outpacing Russell in two of the session’s three segments, with Hamilton ultimately suffering from a DRS issue during his final run.
With Red Bull starting from the midfield and Hungaroring being notoriously difficult to overtake, this could be the ideal chance for Mercedes to break their duck this year.